April Retail Sales Turn in Solid Results

April retail sales climbed a healthy 5.2 percent over the same period last year with sales influenced by holidays such as Easter.

In its April report, the National Retail Federation said sales were up over last year but dipped 0.2 percent from the previous month.

Jack Kleinhenz, the NRF’s chief economist, said extreme weather put a dent in April’s retail sales, but the economy remains strong.

“Slower tax refunds and weather may have been key factors impacting April’s numbers, but the fundamentals remain positive, particularly in long-term comparisons,” he noted.

The NRF broke down April sales by category. Sales for clothing and clothing-accessory stores increased by 3.9 percent in a year-over-year comparison but declined 0.2 percent compared to March sales.

Online and other non-store sales such as catalogs were up 11.9 percent in April over last year but were down 0.2 percent compared to March.

April retail sales for the general-merchandise-store category, which includes department stores, increased 4.4 percent in a year-over-year comparison but slipped 0.2 percent from March.

Sporting-goods stores went against the grain, with sales declining 4.7 percent in April over the previous year but up 0.2 percent over March.

Kleinhenz forecast that retail sales in 2019 will grow 3.8 percent to 4.4 percent.